A UC San Diego associate professor’s bare ass is on the line after he forced students to join him in stripping completely naked for a final art project. A mother of one student didn’t respond lightly to the news, possibly because she “doesn’t get” high-brow art, or possibly because she was a tad uneasy about letting her daughter slip into her birthday suit with a strange older gentleman.
When questioned by reporters, Associate Professor Ricardo Dominguez confirmed that students indeed had to be nude to pass his class, Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self.
From 10 News:
“At the very end of the class, we’ve done several gestures, they have to nude gesture. The prompt is to speak about or do a gesture or create an installation that says, ‘what is more you than you are.'”
He said that 20 students strip down, including him. He calls it a performance of self, in a dark room lit only by candlelight.
“It’s a standard canvas for performance art and body art,” Dominguez said.
“It is very all controlled,” he added.
See that, Mom? You have nothing to worry about. According to the professor who’s butt ass naked in the dark with your daughter, it is “very all controlled.” Dominguez goes on to say that he made the expectations for his class clear at the beginning of the semester.
“If they are uncomfortable with this gesture they should not take the class,” Dominguez said bluntly.
Shit, Dominguez. Don’t you know that hardly anyone reads the descriptions of the classes before they sign up for them? I know I don’t. I just look at the numbers and letters that match up with the sheet my advisor gave me, find an open class that takes place sometime after 1 p.m., and check the little box.
Dominguez says that he’s never had a complaint in the 11 years since he started teaching the course. The university covered their asses with a statement that contradicts what Dominguez told reporters about nudity being a requirement.
Students are aware from the start of the class that it is a requirement, and that they can do the gesture in any number of ways without actually having to remove their clothes. Dominguez explains this – as does our advising team if concerns are raised with them. There are many ways to perform nudity or nakedness, summoning art history conventions of the nude or laying bare of one’s “traumatic” or most fragile and vulnerable self. One can “be” nude while being covered.
So, were they required to be nude or not? I don’t know, but it sounds to me like UCSD isn’t telling us the naked truth.
What I do know is that we can get away with a lot in our society if we label it as art, including fulfilling what I assume is a fantasy of every straight male professor: to look at the nude, supple young bodies he instructs as they jiggle around in interpretive dance (no word on whether home boy is straight — as an art teacher, my guess is no — but if he is, he’s a fucking genius).
Let this be a lesson to you guys. Maybe we wouldn’t get so much flack for posting photos of rush boobs if you classless Neanderthals put a little creativity into your titty paintings. Scribble an Oscar Wilde quote on there. Or, get real deep with it. Paint the left one blue, the right one red, and make it a political statement.
A quick look at Dominguez’s RateMyProfessor account is highly entertaining. The dude’s got a pretty good score from his pupils, who gave him a cumulative 4.2 out of 5, but every comment mentions something about “not being for the close-minded” or “exploring your true self.” My favorite: “It’s really hard to describe him and his class, you kind of just have to be there.”
Image via Shutterstock